Tools & Materials
2017 Hand Tool Upgrades
It turns out that even basic tools that have been around for a hundred years can be improved. Check out these well thought-out tool redesigns.
Fun Size Pocket Level
The new Die Cast Pocket Level from Milwaukee has everything that you might look for in a pocket level. This level uses Milwaukee’s Amplified Rare Earth Magnet Technology, which redirects and focuses the level’s magnetic fields, creating the best magnet hold in the business. Another great feature of this tool is its 360 degree vial locking mechanism, which gives the level the functionality of a protractor. The adjustable vial locks in place so you can identify and then replicate any angle.
Dark Name, Bright Numbers
Lufkin has created a tape measure with a black background and hi-contrasting bright green markings. And if this isn’t cool enough, the Black Widow has markings on both sides. If you have ever used a tape measure for more than five minutes you know why this is super handy. In fact, it kinda begs the question, “Why aren’t all tape measures marked on both sides?”
The Toughest New Wire Stripper
Klein’s newly designed Heavy-Duty Wire Stripper is made in America with U.S. steel. They are four times stronger than Klein’s traditional wire strippers and are perfect for stripping 10 AWG solid and 12-20 AWG stranded wire all day long. The Wire Stripper also features a thick jaw that can twist up to three wires at once. With precision-ground stripping holes and cutting knives that are induction-hardened to last longer, the this pouch-sized tool makes a great addition to any electrician’s belt.
The Heavy-Duty Wire Stripper is sold in stores and online for about $29.99.
Best Screwdriver Handle Ever?
The best way to make a good tool is to listen to the folks that use them. Milwaukee conducted research into common problems workers were having with their screwdrivers on the job. This resulted in handles that are specifically designed to effortlessly slide in and out of a tool-belt pouch. The handles also have lanyard holes for you guys working off the ground. There are strike caps that will take a beating. And maybe slickest of all are the identifying marks on the top of the handle, so you don’t have to guess what kind of driver you’re pulling from your pouch.
These new Milwaukee Screwdrivers will be available for purchase in August 2017. They come in a six-piece ($19.99), eight-piece ($24.99) and ten-piece ($29.99) set.
Make Old Tools Feel New
Are some of your tools starting to feel old and worn down? Sometimes, the actual tool itself is still in great shape- it’s just the grip that needs changing. That’s where Re–Grip comes in. Re-Grip is a new product that you can use to add or replace a grip easily and efficiently. The Re-Grip doesn’t even need glue or heating for application. All you do is slip the Re-Grip onto the tool’s handle and pull the plastic zip to tighten it on. A handy tutorial video can be found here.
Re-Grip comes in three sizes that will fit a wide variety of tools such as wheel-barrows, shovels and hammers. The comfortable and safe grip helps you avoid hand discomfort and blisters. This helpful product can be purchased online at major retailers starting at $8.81.
Less Drivers = Lighter Pouch?
Klein Tools has developed a new tool that features a 2-in-1 hex head, eliminating clutter from your tool belt. The driver doubles as both ¼” and 5/16” hex driver using Klein Tools’ new patented tip. The tip slides back and forth easilly between settings. It also has a tip lock so that you don’t accidentally slip to a different size if you don’t want to.
The tool comes in two different shaft sizes, with a 6 in. and a 1-1/2 in. version. The handle is covered by a cushion grip for maximum torque and comfort, while the tip is magnetic so your screws and bolts do not fall out while fastening. Both sizes of Klein Tool’s 2-in-1 Hex Driver (65129 and 65131) are available individually for $24.99.
Bosh Custom Case System
Finding the right drill bit can be a bit of a time-waster. There are guys who keep their bits all jumbled up in their pouch, or scattered in the bottom of their toolbox. After a frustrating search they’ll usually end up grabbing a bit that’s “close” to the right size. Bosch talked to frustrated workers tired of wasting time and came up with a new custom bit case to help make finding bits easier. The Bosch Custom Case is made up of removable bit clips, so you can just take out sections of bits at a time. The Bosch Custom Case makes keeping your bits organized and easy to access easy. It’s available online and in stores starting at $31.61.
Festool Inspection Light
The new Festool STL 450 Inspection Light lets you shine a light up close to your work so you can spot any potential flaws before your customers does. Designed for a variety of jobs including painting, wall finishes and hanging drywall, the STL 450 evenly distributes the 1,500 lumens of light, giving you an ideal amount of visibility. It can be mounted on a tripod or used as a hand-held device and comes with rugged full body protection so it can survive anything the jobsite throws at it. And like most Festool tools, it’s designed with industry leading dust and water protection The Festool STL 450 Inspection Light is available online for $300.
Milwaukee Jobsite Backpack
Haven’t used a backpack since high school? Well, that might be about to change. Milwaukee just introduced what they’re calling “the Ultimate Jobsite Backpack”. Instead of chemistry books and calculators, this rugged and durable pack is designed with enough pockets to store a toolbox worth of equipment. Of course the pockets are made to fit tools, with slots for screwdrivers and pouches for pliers. The Ultimate Jobsite Backpack is perfect for jobs where you need to move around a lot and don’t want to lug around your fifty pound tool chest. Milwaukee has also released a “Low Profile” version of their jobsite backpack which isn’t nearly as bulky as their previous model. Both of these packs are available online and in stores for $79.
Milwaukee Personal Lighting Products
Charging small tools with Micro-USB cords is definitely a growing trend in the construction industry. It makes sense. Most people have USB chargers on hand and the Micro-USB cable is the most common charging cable for small electronics. Milwaukee has shown that they are hopping on the Micro-USB bandwagon, and continue to do so with the introduction of their new line of personal lighting products.
This new line features the 700L Flashlight, the Hard Hat Headlamp and the Pocket Flood Light, all of which are easily rechargeable via Micro USB. Milwaukee claims that these rechargeable batteries will still last all day. The 700L Flashlight looks especially impressive, with 16 hours of charge time and an impact and chemical resistant aluminum body. It can even be submerged in up to a meter of water!
The 700L Flashlight, Hard Hat Headlamp and the Pocket Flood Light will be available this fall online and in stores.